Penn State's Joe Paterno is entering the final season of his contract and, perhaps, his final season as coach.
University president Graham Spanier, who was recently awarded a five-year extension, was scheduled to meet with the 81-year-old coach after the Alamo Bowl, but Paterno came down with a debilitating two-week bout with influenza that effectively flattened him for much of the home stretch to signing day.
Another meeting was scheduled for last Wednesday, but that was postponed and only added to speculation that Spanier is in no rush to address the situation.
Trustees are also talking — off the record — about 2008 being Paterno's last season.
"He's always saying that this is what he likes to do, that he doesn't play golf or have any other hobbies," said one trustee. "Well, that isn't our problem. I think if he wasn't the coach, he'd still be as busy as ever. He could be a full-time fundraiser and really help the university."
Said another trustee: "We've asked the president to come up with a plan for after 2008. And I'm pretty sure the sentiment is [Paterno] shouldn't coach past 2008.
"Now, the question is, will Joe do the classy thing or will he fight it? I know he doesn't want to be paraded around. But you also have to remember his ego is as big as New Jersey."
The next trustees meeting is scheduled for March 20 in Washington, D.C.
Thanks to Kevin of We Are Penn State.